Review: Brother Ali, The Truth Is Here EP
There isn’t one project that Brother Ali has done that I can say is below average, or below great for that matter. This effort follows the same track record Ali has gained for himself and shoots him miles into the atmosphere (no pun intended) of greatness. There’s no denying it, Ant & Brother Ali can make some great fucking music. If you only gave these two a tape recorder and a snare drum there’s still a great chance that they could cook up a classic. The chemistry between these two just meshes seamlessly and every time they make a record it’s a classic, or as close to it as you can get.
The EP starts off with a track called “Real As Can Be” where Ali talks about the ups and downs of touring. The beat has a nice bass line and some smoothly placed horns. The thing I like about it though is Ali’s voice projects more than the beat so in a sense to me it’s almost like an acapella. “Philistine David” is where the head nodding really starts with a skull cracking synth beat courtesy of Ant. Ali of course is on point and political, “First time I ever broke the law was just being born in a zone that’s controlled by ya’ll/A foreigner in my own damn homeland made me a sixteen year old grown man”, and that pattern progresses through the track. I told someone the other day that I think “Palm the Joker” might be Ant’s crowning jewel of beats, and my god it’s beautiful. The beat makes me feel like I could climb a mountain or do anything that would result in great triumph. When I first heard it I almost cried (no lie) because I thought it was so good. Don’t get me wrong, Ant has crafted some of my favorite beats but this one is different. “Good Lord” is another incredible track that can’t be missed when you are talking about greatness. Maybe me favorite rhyme on the whole album is on this track, “How you gonna’ hate me for bein’ what God made me?”. Not to mention that this beat makes me feel great with a great upbeat rolling piano loop and a jazzy ass bass line.
The highlight of the album may be “The Believers” which is a duet track with label mate Slug. These two completely black out on this track and leave the beat blown to smithereens. This track is a classic example of two emcees at the top of their game just having fun with a beat and making it all seem so simple. I have to say that the rhyme that Slug spits is probably one of my favorite (and also gets my vote on the best) verses I’ve ever heard by him. In the first few lines of his verse he spits, “Call me Slug that’s it/don’t need no acronyms/tryin’ to keep the masochist stuck inside the pacifist/but God it’s gettin’ hard to give em passes when they act as if they grew up on the south side of Nazareth”. Ali follows the same line, “… In the cut til the beat drop/see me hop up off the sheet rock and strut like a peacock/get your teeth knocked clean out your speechbox…”. I have to say this is probably my favorite track that I have heard with Ali and Slug (and there are quite a few of them). These two shine like diamonds in the light and to be quite clear, this one track justifies the money you will spend on this EP.
The EP also comes with a live DVD from the Homecoming show on the Undisputed Truth tour at First Avenue (which I had the pleasure of seeing). This is EP is a well justified purchase in the time of a financial crunch. After all you are picking up some classic material. This is just another great example of how the Rhymesayers camp is taking things to a whole new level. Watch out for the mighty Minneapolis in 2009 as well as in the distant future.